This weekend, Guardians of the Galaxy took the world by storm. The movie hit the top of the U.S. box office with a record shattering $94mil opening, which means that pretty much anyone who was willing and able decided to take a trip with the ragtag bunch of “heroes” led by Chris Pratt’s Peter Quill. One person who would have loved to be in attendance to see his creation brought to life but was unable to make it is comic book writer Bill Mantlo, co-creator of one of the film’s most popular characters (together with Keith Giffen), Rocket Raccoon. Unfortunately, back in 1992, Mantlo was the victim of a hit and run accident that left him with a traumatic brain injury. As such, he was unable to attend his local theater to witness just how wonderful his creation looks on screen. Luckily, Marvel continued to prove just how wonderful they are by arranging a private screening for Mantlo.
As reported by Bill’s brother Michael Mantlo to Bleeding Cool:
*****WHAT AN INCREDIBLE DAY FOR BILL MANTLO*****! Marvel hooked Bill up with a PRIVATE VIEWING of “Guardians Of The Galaxy”, and my wife Liz and my beloved cousin Jean assisted Bill throughout, enabling him to sit back, relax and relish in the AWESOMENESS of what is going to be, in my humble opinion, Marvel’s GREATEST AND MOST SUCCESSFUL FILM EVER! Bill thoroughly enjoyed it, giving it his HIGHEST COMPLIMENT (the BIG “THUMB’S UP!”), and when the credits rolled, his face was locked into the HUGEST SMILE I HAVE EVER SEEN HIM WEAR (along with one or two tears of joy)! This was the GREATEST DAY OF THE LAST 22 YEARS for me, our family, and most importantly, BILL MANTLO!
The gentlemen that made it possible for Bill to see his creation, ROCKET RACCOON, come alive in “Guardians Of The Galaxy”, Marvel Attorney David Althoff (far left) and Marvel VP David Bogart (center). Giving Bill this opportunity was a daunting challenge (with all the legal & security protocols that needed to be breached), but these two FINE MEN made it happen, and Bill had the HAPPIEST DAY OF HIS LIFE! I will NEVER be able to thank them enough for all that they have done for Bill!
This is in addition to the wonderful way in which Marvel handled the negotiations regarding Rocket. According to Michael:
Bill was treated in an exceptionally fair manner by Marvel/Disney, and on his behalf I can say with the utmost confidence that we are very pleased with the negotiated contract. And, unbeknownst to ALL, Marvel has made incredibly generous gestures apart from this particular contract (which ONLY pertains to the rights to the character Rocket Raccoon) to assist in Bill’s ongoing care & rehabilitation.
Marvel continues to be an inspiration to other comic book publishers and, really, anyone who wants to help others. If you want to join in the caring and donate to the care of Mantlo, click here.